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Two finalists emerge in the search for a new LOC president

Open forums with students, faculty, staff and alumni recently greeted two candidates who want to become the 12th president of The LeMoyne-Owen College (LOC). Another round of talks is set for May 20-21 as the selection process continues to choose a successor to outgoing President Johnnie B. Watson.

The two finalist are Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller, chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College, and Dr. Russell “Russ” Wigginton, vice president for External Programs at Rhodes College. When they return to the LOC campus Miller and Wigginton will engage in forums with elected officials, community leaders and members from the faith and business communities.

The LOC Board of Trustees will meet with Miller and Wigginton following the forums, with a selection anticipated in June. Watson, who has served as president since 2008, announced last June that he planned to retire this year, effective June 30.

A presidential search committee recommended Miller and Wigginton to the college’s board of trustees. Aided by the executive search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates, the search committee sought to identify a broad range of highly qualified candidates from around the country.

Miller, who has a doctorate in cell and developmental biology from Atlanta University, got her Bachelor of Science in Biology from LOC. She has 20-plus years of experience in higher education, including 6 years as LOC’s vice president for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty. She devoted another six years to serving as provost/executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at Southwest Tennessee Community College, where she was responsible for strategic planning and institutional research.

As the Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College, Miller provides leadership to a merger with a technical college. The merger transforms BRCC from a two year college with a primary focus on transfer programs to a comprehensive 6-campus community college with an emphasis on transfer, career, technical and workforce development programs.

As Rhodes College’s vice president for External Programs, Wigginton helps establish and implement institutional strategy for the college’s engagement in Memphis and beyond. He also oversees college grants, foundations and government relations, career services and the center for life-long learning.

Wigginton earned his doctorate in history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Earlier, he graduated from Rhodes College with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Specializing in African-American and community history, Wigginton taught in the Rhodes Department of history for eight years (1996-2004). For two years, he served as special Assistant to the President for Community Relations before a 5-year stint as stint as president for College Relations.

NOTE: Both candidates’ biographical sketches, along with Miller’s curriculum vitae and Wigginton’s resume, are available online at www.loc.edu., where more information about the college also is available.

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